Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Happy New Year Everyone!


My holidays have been filled with joy this year. I've much to be thankful for and not least among my list of blessings to count are the many wonderful friends I've made since I started HFTS. I want to thank each of you who stop by for visits. Your kind and thoughtful words encourage me, your friendships bring much joy, and your incredibly creative blogs continue to inspire me with each new post. Your postings give me pause to smile and laugh; your incredible photographs take me to beautiful homes and gardens and interesting places. I'm in awe of the endless number of talented individuals who share their creative spirit and are so generous with their time and talents.

This beautiful pink ornament from Jacque @ Campagne Maison hangs on our Christmas tree this year, a cherished reminder of the many new friends I've made in these past five months. Click on the link above to read Jacque's toast to the New Year.

In the spring of this year I knew little about the world of Blog. Then by chance I found Between Naps on the Porch and Confessions of a Plate Addict. Both Susan and Debbie encouraged me and guided me, and in August Hyacinths for the Soul became a reality. Now I'm joining in the fun of the weekly blog events Sunday Favorites, Blue Monday, Three or More Tuesday, Outdoor Wednesday, Tablescape Thursday, Foodie Friday, and Pink Saturday. Since those first encounters, blogging has provided hours of friendship that I never expected. I've come to feel that many of you are the dearest of friends, even though we've never met. So a heartfelt "Thank you!" to each who have encouraged me and offered your friendship through your blogs and personal emails.

In addition to kind and thoughtful words from many blogging friends, I've recently been the beneficiary of several blog give always. In early December I received this elegant beaded pouch of lavender from Cindy @ Fairy Tale Cottage. I was so surprised! And little did Cindy know that the aromatic fragrance of lavender is my favorite. The fragrance from lavender calms and soothes my being. It's a wonderful way to relax. "Thank you, Cindy, for this thoughtful and delightful gift you sent my way."

December also brought new dishes to my home. Like many of you I'm a bit of a dishaholic. So needless to say, I was thrilled to learn that I had won Linda's give away @ My Shabby Rose Cottage. Thank you, Linda, for sending these charming plates my way. They are already favorites! I'm only sharing this peek at what was inside the package I received, because I'm saving the best photos for a future Tablescape Thursday. You see, another package of dishes arrived about the same time from a "dish angel", a blogging friend who facilitated a purchase for me after locating the very dishes I'd been searching for.

A toast to each of you who
are reading this New Year's Day!

May your year ahead
be one of good health and good fortune!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Celebrating Christmas

The following post was originally shared in 2009.

I'm linking it to today's Creating Christmas Linky Party.

~ Silver and Gold Christmas ~

I hope it offers some inspiration.

Nancy Thomas Print, Black Tie Santa, 1995

Christmas Eve at our home is a quiet celebration with family. We traditionally share the evening with my husband's twin brother and his wife and daughter. No gifts, just a time to catch up, remember good times from the past, laugh, and of course enjoy some good food prepared by my talented husband.

A Courtly Check Christmas was the theme in our dining room this year. We tucked one of the slim line trees into the corner by the buffet, decked it with our special glass ornaments, and topped it with a wide silk ribbon in black and white plaid.

These courtly Check ornaments were a special highlight added just days before. Aren't they spectacular? Linda @ My Shabby Rose Cottage painted these. I recently found her wonderful blog and was thrilled to learn that she had these for sale. I suspect I'll be doing a lot of shopping with Linda in the year ahead.

I wanted to set a casual, 

but elegant table for our Christmas Eve meal.

Those of you have read previous posts may know of my fondness for MacKenzie-Childs and especially the pieces in the Courtly Check pattern. Well, these MacKenzie-Childs Courtly Check chargers were a gift to myself this holiday. I like the way the black and white checks look with the simple brown and gold bands of our wedding china, Palermo Brown, by Richard Ginori. They provide an unexpected twist. The green beaded placemats were a Pottery Barn purchase a couple of years ago.

I often use cyclamen plants in both white and bright pink about the house during the holiday season for the delightful aromatic fragrance and the lasting blooms. Once Christmas is over, I plant them outside in the garden. Here in Texas, cyclamen are the perfect winter bloomer.

As a little party favor and to mark one's spot, 

I added a glass ball glittered in gold at each place setting.

It's fun to send guests home with a little something, 

and what better treat than an ornament for one's own tree!

Each was tied with a Courtly Check 

ribbon to carry out the theme.

I placed them in a gold ball 

martini glass just for fun.

With the brown emanel of the Christophe Talisman silver and the gold, brown, and black accents of the plates, red napkins added a little punch and Christmas cheer to mix with the sparkly greens.

More sparkle for the table was 

provided with the amber crystal stemware by Denby.

My contribution to the meal. . . 

I baked a fresh apple pie and served 

it with whipped cream and . . .

these peppermint almond macrons 

I picked up from a local bakery.

Christmas morning I woke to a stocking full of gifts, each thoughtfully selected by my husband. This beautiful handmade European ornament was right on top and is a glittering masterpiece with intricate details. It's a French hen from the Reed and Barton Twelve Days of Christmas series. Notice the gold fleur de lys and the ermine tails that decorate this fine bird. I absolutely think this is one of the most beautiful ornaments on the tree! The fact that it is a gift from my sweetheart makes it extremely precious!

After a leisurely morning with a late breakfast and a brisk walk along the trail, we joined friends for a Christmas Day dinner at our friend Judy's home.

Her festive table was laden with plump red pomegranates and magnolia leaves from a tree in her yard. A bounty of fresh fruit and greens filled a compote at the center of the table.

Each place setting was beautifully set with Strasbourg and 

Winthrope silver and Spode Christmas china . . .

atop Spode Christmas placemats.

Heavy red Vietri chargers with 

white polka-dots held the china settings.

The cheerful bands of red and green and the whimsical peppermint inspired linen napkins made a stunning presentation. Note the beautiful antique French napkin ring. For many years Judy and I traveled to Paris each March. We would time our trips to coincide with the annual Brocante Et Aux Jambons held on the ile de Chatou and the oldest outdoor antique market in France.  Early on we discovered the charm of French antique napkin rings which are wider than most, not expensive, and the perfect size to easily carry back as a souvenir of our vacation. So over the years we each returned with one or two. Not only are they beautiful, they make great conversational topics for the table!

Saint Louis crystal stems 

held the evening's wine selections.

We started with a salad of fresh greens, 

pears, and blue cheese.

Followed by a traditional southwest 

meal of homemade posole and . . .

handmade tamales with chicken or pork 

and topped with red and green hot sauce.

All of the above enjoyed with friends gathered along each side of Judy's antique French farm table, another purchase from one of our yearly trips. Not only is this table the perfect venue for eating and conversing, it holds special memories. You see, this 9 foot table was one found at the Marché Aux Puces in Paris, another favorite antique market.

After dinner we moved to the living room to enjoy coffee and dessert around the cozy fire burning in the fireplace. The mantel was decorated with more fresh magnolia leaves and a collection of very special Christmas plates done in Copenhagen, Denmark.

These Bing and Grondahl porcelain plates are from a Christmas Around the World series done between 1995 and 2000.

Each is hand-painted and is 

the original art of Hans Henrik Hansen.

Notice the wide golden borders 

The dining room table was filled 

with an assortment of Christmas sweets . . .

around this clay blow filled with succulents 

within a wreath of red berries.

This sweet little Courtly Check birdie atop an intricately painted egg was my Christmas gift from Judy this year. Isn't it perfect for our CC tree? "Thank you, Judy!" and my heartfelt thanks to each of you who stop by today. Have a safe and happy New Year's Eve. I wish each of you the best for 2010!

Please, help yourself to a snow flake sugar cookie 

before heading off to visit 

Creating Christmas ~ Silver and Gold Christmas 

Sunday, December 27, 2009

MacKenzie-Childs Christmas 2009

It's the Monday after Christmas, and if you are like me you are now enjoying some leisure time. All the preparations leading up to Christmas are fun but a little exhausting. Most days I had little time left for visiting friends in Blogville or leaving a post myself. I'm new to the world of Blog, so today I took some time reading older posts on some of my favorite blogs and hope to do more of that throughout the week ahead. Thank you to all my new found friends in Blogville. You are an amazing group of talented people. I find myself filled with inspiration after I visit you.

MacKenzie-Childs, West 57th NYC - Christmas 2009

I'm a long time fan of MacKenzie-Childs. When my husband and I had an apartment in NYC for a few years, trips to the MacKenzie-Childs store on West 57th was one of my favorite destinations. It's a magical place full of whimsy, and if you find yourself in NYC I recommend a visit.

One of my close friends took her 3 daughters to NY for a week in November. Her trip happened to coincide with the MacKenzie-Childs NY store's opening party for the Christmas season. She didn't attend the party, but went by to shop and take some photos just for me. Thought I'd share them with you today for Mosaic Monday with Mary @ Little Red House where you can see some amazing photo mosaics.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas 2009


Merry, Merry from Texas!

I hope everyone had a delightful Christmas Day. This longhorn resides above my close friend's mantel year round, but is always decked out in special holiday greens this time of year. So I thought you might like to see a little Texas Christmas humor for Pink Saturday. I don't think Beverly will mind since she said we could "fudge" a little during the holidays.

But just to be on the safe side, have a peppermint almond macaroon before you leave. They're filled with chocolate mousse, and oh so delicious! And they are perfect for a Pink Saturday!!!

Please do leave me a comment before clicking yourself over to Beverly's @ How Sweet the Sound.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tis the Season

Welcome! I'm glad you stopped by on this Christmas Eve day for Tablescape Thursday with our hostess Susan @ Between Naps on the Porch.

Tis the season for holiday parties, and the tablesape I want to share this week is a wonderful dinner party with a group of girlfriends. Our group of eight have shared evenings together for twenty five years now. We used to meet each month; more recently busy schedules have limited our dinners to five or six times a year. Without fail though, it is always a delightful evening: the night's hostess sets a beautiful table, a delicious meal is served, and the room is full of the chatter and laughter of long time dear friends sharing good times.

Our hostess has many wonderful Santas around her home, some of which I'll give you a peek at later. For now take a look at this old world Santa. With list in hand and a sleigh full of toys he took center stage on this lovely dinner table. Doesn't he have the sweetest face?

Santa and his sleigh were surround by a forest of mercury glass trees paired with mercury glass candlesticks of varring sizes.

A mercury glass vase filled with "diamond" studded red carnations and green or silver foil English party crackers were at each place setting that was set with . . .

elegant Fritz and Floyd St. Nicolas plates atop red chargers on green linen mats. Victorian figural silver napkin rings held festive plaid napkins.

Waterford crystal Lismore stemware sparkled along with the Frances the First sterling flatware.

Our hostess has a fabulous collection of the figural napkin rings such as this one of a young girl holding a vase. Take a look at the ones used that evening . . .

A regal hare . . .

The whimsy of a young boy riding a tortise . . .

This sweet puppy on a lesh . . .

A magestic reindeer for the season . . .

A young maid with her basket of fresh cut flowers . . .

One of beautiful birds . . .

And this one portraying the race between the hare and the tortise.

This beautiful shell shaped silver server held the dinner rolls.

Several party favors in addition to the lovely vase of carnations at each place setting went home with each guest.

A beautiful arrangement of fresh flowers sat on the livingroom sofa table and filled the room with fragrance.

The gorgeous tree decorated with ornaments collected through the years . . .

and special toys from years gone by under its branches stood in the living room.

A garland of greens and a collection of Radko glass ornaments swagged the mantel.

This Santa stood watch over a silver tray filled with special ornaments and Lomoges Christmas boxes.

The mother of our hostess stitched this needlepoint Santa years ago.

A collection of lighted glass Santa figures and fresh shooting star hydrangea added a festive touch to the powder room.

An extremely special custom Santa by local artist Judy Tash greeted all on arrival and bid us farewell at evening's end.

Christmas Blessings to each of you
on this Christmas Eve.

There will no doubt be an abundance of holiday tablescapes for your viewing pleasure @ Between Naps on the Porch. I plan to post another holiday party on Friday. Hope to see you then.